chewing ideas down to stubble, then moving on…

Why I Blog?

Posted by Jason on November 30, 2008

I read this article by The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan during the dismal, awful Chargers game. It’s actually way longer than anything I would normally have the patience to read off of a computer screen, but the Chargers really sucked (I’m beginning to disconnect now: they’re officially out of the playoff picture. Shame it’s taken 12 weeks of my life and sanity to make that happen). Anyway, the article talks about blogging versus print-writing, and it brought me to ponder why I blog. I haven’t been at it very long, but I’m finding that I’m enjoying this whole thing quite a bit, much more than my actual job as a school teacher.

Blogging presents me with a challenge: a challenge to reach people. I’m sure that I’ll have an effect on some of my students’ lives, but I most likely won’t know about any of that for a very long time, if at all. Posting things on the internet that people will (might?) read allows me relatively instant feedback on whether or not what I have said does anything for anybody. About “reaching people,” you might ask me, “So you just want to make a blog site that will generate a bunch of traffic and have thousands of people read and comment about what you say?” A high traffic blog and a huge readership would definitely be welcome, but I don’t view it as a goal. Rather it will be an indicator for me that what I say is affecting people somehow, for better or for worse.

Blogging is an opportunity to connect with people like myself. By seeking an audience for my writing, why not start with people that are like me? Well, now I have to define myself, which I’ve been loathe to do all my life. The most concise way I know to define myself is a Jack-of-all-Trades. I know quite a bit about so many things, but I’m not an expert in anything, really. I know I’m intelligent, and that my brain has a huge capacity and facility to grasp ideas and learn new things. Combine this intelligence and curiosity with mild, inherited A.D.D. and you get somebody that knows a lot about a lot, but everything about nothing. There’s not many subjects in the blogosphere about which I care enough to read more than a 1000-word post about, so I can’t expect my readers (supposedly like me, remember?) to tolerate any gigantic posts in which I expound the virtues of anything, much less something they don’t really care about.

Blogging provides the world with food for thought. I can’t stand when people compose a blog post as if it were a scholarly journal, with references and footnotes… If you expect to gain credible knowledge from anything other than a newsblog, you’re either severely undereducated or just plain gullible. Sure, blogs can teach you skills like how to cook something or how to teach your dog to heel, but even then this information should always be suspect. Blogs are commentary upon the myriad “factual” knowledge that bombards us from dozens of media outlets. Maybe the reason why I hate reading blogs is that I expect to learn something from things that I read. Sometimes I glean a cool idea, but most of the time I just skip over most of the recent posts in my tag surfer because a mere glance renders soooo many blogs chillingly boring to me. There’s nothing that turns me off quicker than a post that’s a mile long and has a bunch of Bible quotes in it. I’m a devout Christian, but I hate all of the blogs that try to convince me or anybody else to believe something just because it’s in the Bible. I’m also a firm believer that anybody can make the Good Book support a billion different positions, so right there I have a hard time digging anything that uses the Bible to support a thesis. Just tell me what you think, and if it’s interesting I’ll read it and think about it, too. I’m not gonna believe anything you write, but I will think about it if you don’t pound me with reasons why you’re correct.

There are probably several other reasons that I blog, like the possibility of earning money some day, the catharsis of daily writing, or practice for my hopefully future career as an author, but the aforementioned are most important to me. Really, the second and third reasons are just sub-reasons of the first. So, why do I blog? I want to reach somebody with my ideas. I want to know that I make a difference to the world, even if it’s a cyber-world. I want something I write to make somebody think something, since there’s a major drought of thought that plagues the world today.

Only time, hard work, and my stats page will tell if I accomplish this…


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